The Writing Environment

Lately, I have been putting thought into my surroundings as I sit down to write. I often wonder what other writers choose as their creative environment. I feel the choices hinge largely on the writer’s personality and the requirements placed upon them due to their life situations.

When it comes to personality, I find I have a single purpose mind. Multi-tasking is not one of my talents. Early in the drafting process, I need to block out as many outside disturbances as possible, unless I find myself easily distracted and prone to staring at anything but my screen. Thus, I tend to thrive best in my finished basement. No windows, no music, no toddler… just my computer and a glass of inspiration.

However, there is a point during the drafting phase of writing at which the momentum has gathered enough strength to carry itself into Act Two and beyond. I become more comfortable with my characters’ voices, the words begin to flow, and I have navigated through the necessary exposition (hopefully with enough delicacy to keep it from sounding expository). When I reach this point of flow, I tend to emerge from my cave and bring myself into bright, often public, environments. When I reached the middle of my last project, Omnipotence, I was most often found at Starbucks typing furiously and sipping coffee. For its benefits of low distraction, the basement gets fairly depressing.

Naturally, this would not apply to every author. My wife, for example, requires several sensory inputs when she writes or revises. One can find her on the couch with the TV or a Pandora station going, the child on the floor creating (or destroying) worlds with his blocks, and her email continually demanding her attention. Somehow, she thrives amidst distraction.

I can guarantee I would get nothing done if I began the manuscript at Starbucks. I suppose one could compare my drafting process to a germinating seed. At those precious early moments, the manuscript begins underground in darkness. But once it breaks the surface, I tend to feed it light and fresh air.

Having just completed the second chapter of The Curse Merchant, I am still solidly in the topsoil, but I am looking forward to the sunlight!

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